What I’ve Been Reading Recently – Lucinda (Feb 21)
I’m mainly looking forward with my reading to some titles due out over the next couple of months. Who knows what the world will look like then? But first, I’ve been dipping into Max Adam’s ‘The Wisdom of Trees‘, his personal homage to all things arboreal (and including gorgeous botanical illustrations taken from the 1776 edition of Sylva). Having digested Peter Frankopan’s ‘New Silk Roads’, I’m now being taken on a riotous alternate world history in Laurent Binet’s ‘Civilisations‘…South America is explored by a Viking tribe, pre-Columbus, and by the time 1492 comes around, the locals are far from naive and vulnerable. Binet has great fun casting real historical figures and events in a new light. From there, to a collection of non-fiction ‘The Opposite of Fate‘ by Amy Tan – including some of the family stories that inspired her fiction along with the curios of being an author (she picks up a CliffsNotes revision guide to The Joy Luck Club and is surprised by the ‘facts’ it presents!). The ways that fate and faith (which both sound the same when uttered by her Chinese mother) have intertwined in her life, is thought provoking and fascinating. Excitingly for me, Rachel Cusk has a new novel out in May. Told in the form of a confessional, a woman invites an artist to stay in a rental property on the remote estate she shares with her husband. She’s desperately seeking more meaningful and deeper human connections and thinks art is the answer. As the ambiguity of the title suggests, Cusk stretches conventional language to breaking point and her protagonist veers from insightful to delusional. My final piece of non-fiction due out in March, is a stark reminder of the importance of access to books. In ‘The Book Collectors of Daraya‘, journalist Delphine Minoui has been skyping a group of Syrian revolutionaries, besieged in their home town since 2012 – but who have been keeping their minds and hopes alive by creating a secret library. Located in an abandoned building, close to the frontline and flanked by sandbags, it consists of books rescued from bombsites and has makeshift couches upon which to sit and read. Their bravery and resourcefulness is a reminder how much me should all value the printed word.
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